Today’s classrooms are places of diversity that bring together pupils of different geographic, cultural and social backgrounds. This diversity impacts teaching and often also influences a child’s scholastic development.
Studies have shown that the Swiss school system is only partially successful in supporting the needs of children from different backgrounds. On the other hand, many teachers have started to give pupils supplementary resources, in addition to the required class material, that is customized to meet each individual’s needs.
Native language and culture classes
Public and private organisations offer classes in native language and culture. Besides written and spoken language instruction, the classes also teach cultural traditions of the country of origin. Native language and culture classes are normally held outside the regular curriculum.
Children starting kindergarten, primary or secondary school in the Canton of Baselland who speak little or no German can benefit from a range of programmes to learn German. The school board decides whether the child is best suited to attend a foreign language class or take an intensive course in German as a second language. No further evaluation is necessary. The following programmes are on offer:
Foreign language classes at primary school
Pupils who speak no German at all normally attend a foreign language class. According to their capabilities, they gradually take part in the lessons of their future class. Foreign language lessons normally last one year.
Intensive course in German as asecond language
Pupils who do not speak German can choose to take an intensive course in German as a second language instead of enrolling in a foreign language class. The intensive course lasts a year at the most and takes place side-by-side with regular lessons. At the end of either the intensive course or the foreign language class, children can take further courses in German as a foreign language.
Courses in German as a foreign language (Deutsch als Zweitsprache, DaZ)
Pupils with an insufficient knowledge of German receive remedial instruction, available for two years in kindergarten and an additional three years in primary school.